Kyrie Irving declares for NBA Draft

Kyrie Irving declares for NBA Draft

Published Apr. 6, 2011 5:48 p.m. ET

Kyrie Irving is leaving Duke and entering the NBA Draft.

That's not exactly a surprise, but Irving made it official Wednesday. And Irving will be studied very closely over the next two months by the Cavaliers and the other teams that figure to have high selections in the June 23 draft.

The exact draft order won't be known until the May 17 draft lottery. Entering Wednesday night's game at Toronto, the Cavaliers were a half-game "ahead" of Minnesota in the race for the most ping-pong balls in that lottery.

Even when reports out of Duke said Irving's toe injury would cause him to miss the remainder of the recently-completed season, he was still regarded by some as the potential No. 1 pick. His college career is now history after 11 games and averages of 17.5 points and 4.3 assists.

Though most draft experts regard the 6'2 Irving as the top point guard prospect this year, whether or not he'll actually be the top prospect depends on which other underclassmen enter the draft and which team ends up with the top pick.

FROM EARLIER: Irving or Barnes? FSO writers debate

North Carolina announced Wednesday that big men John Henson and Tyler Zeller plan to return to school next year, but freshman forward Harrison Barnes has not yet made his plans official. Barnes is likely a top-3 selection if he chooses to enter the draft.

The NBA's early-entry deadline is April 24. Another top prospect, Arizona forward Derrick Williams, wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday (sic): "Damn.. Everybody leaving today..?! Over two weeks to decide.. No rush."

The NBA's impending labor issues make the decision more complicated for some prospects. The draft will go on as scheduled and the Cavaliers will have two early picks, their own and the Clippers' pick acquired in the February Baron Davis-Mo Williams trade.

--Zac Jackson